By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II
When looking from behind and we see the structured anatomy of a well-defined back, we cannot help but want to see that individual’s front side holds in store. In order to acquire such features it takes a fitness artist’s touch to cultivate such a sculpted look.
Let’s take a look at the anatomy the #FitnessArtist must sculpt.
- The lats and trapezius (aka traps) span the largest area, running from the base of the neck all the way down to the hips. They make up the bulk of the back’s muscle mass and generate the most force. The traps are not just the humps on top of your shoulders, they also dominate the inner part of the upper back.
- The rhomboids, infraspinatus, and teres are smaller muscles that run diagonally across the width of the upper back. Aesthetically, they add definition and distinct cuts behind the scapula (your shoulder blades). They are typically targeted while working the lats and traps (via rows, pull-ups, etc.).
- The erector spinae runs vertically in columns along the vertebrae and makes up most of the muscle in the lower back. It is a critical element in all-around core strength.
Exercises: (3 sets for 15 repetitions), progression set add weight, reduce rep #.
1) Pull-ups w/ weighted plates
Primary Muscles: Lats, posterior deltoids, rhomboids, infraspinatus, elevator scapulae, etc.
- Secure weight belt around hips and add desired weight.
- Step up and grasp bar with overhand wide grip.
- Pull body up until chin is above bar. Lower body until arms and shoulders are fully extended. Repeat.
2) Core ball prone extensions w/ weight plate
Primary Muscles: Erector spinae, iliocostalis, longissimus, spinalis
- Prop yourself up on a core ball holding a weight plate with arms crossed to secure the plate.
- Without arching your back, slowly bend your torso forward until it forms a 45º angle with your legs.
- Squeeze your lower back and raise your body back up to starting position. Repeat.
3) Lat pull downs (narrow, wide, palms facing grips)
Primary Muscles: Lats, trapezius, posterior deltoids, middle back, erector spinae
- Find a lat pull down machine with interchangeable clips. Place two hand grips on it.
- With palms facing one another, lean back 70 degrees and pull down sliding your hands alongside your rib cage, then out wide to 90 degree hinges, then palms facing you narrow pulls. Repeat.
4) Single arm cable rows
Primary Muscles: Upper back, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, erector spinae, etc.
- Sit on a secured bench and grasp cable stirrup with one hand. Straighten lower back and position knees with slight bend.
- Pull cable attachment to side of torso, slightly twisting through waist. Pull shoulder back and push chest forward during contraction. Return until arm is extended and shoulder is stretched forward. Repeat.
- Continue with opposite arm.
5) Weight plate lifts
Primary Muscles: Posterior deltoids, upper back
- Choose a weight plate and stand with your feet around shoulder width apart.
- Hold the weight plate with your palms facing one another at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. Let the weight plate rest on your thighs. Straighten your back, tense your mid section and pull your shoulders back, taking the weight off your thighs and holding it about 5 inches from your body. This is the starting position.
- Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, raise the plate up until your arms are parallel to the floor.
- Pause, and then slowly lower the plate back to the starting position. Repeat.
6) Bosu ball loaded push-ups
Primary Muscles: Pectoralis major
- Lie prone on floor with hands slightly wider than shoulder width placed on the dynamic side of a bosu balance trainer.
- Raise body up off floor by extending arms with body straight.
- Keeping body straight, lower body to the bosu ball by bending arms to 90 degrees and then hold your weight for 15 seconds. Repeat.
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